MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. (WPTV/CNN) - Thanks to good Samaritans and a team of rescuers, a Florida hunter still has his leg and his life after he was bitten by an alligator.
James Boyce, 46, was attacked by an approximately 10-foot-long alligator Saturday while hog hunting along the Martin-Palm Beach County line in Florida.
“Sometimes you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he’s hungry for something to eat, and I’m dinner,” said Boyce at a news conference Tuesday. “When he bit me, it was like putting my leg in an electrical socket... I’m screaming because he’s crushing my leg, blood curdling.”
The alligator bite was so severe that Boyce started going in and out of consciousness. He admitted that he thought he was going to die.
“He started pulling me back, and he keeps grabbing and grabbing. I’m just like, ‘Oh, my God, this is really happening,’” Boyce said. "I’m in the middle of the swamp, bleeding to death.”
Luckily, Danny McClellane was hunting nearby with his family and heard Boyce’s wife screaming. He raced over and helped put zip ties on Boyce’s leg, making a tourniquet, which doctors say helped save his life.
For nearly two hours, the Martin County Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit battled rain and rough terrain to reach Boyce, knowing time was of the essence.
Boyce was eventually flown to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery for the substantial injury to his right leg. His soft tissue, vessels and veins were all torn.
“He had puncture marks from the teeth of the alligator on the anterior thigh,” a doctor said.
The surgery went well. Boyce now has some stitches to contend with but no nerve damage, and he’s already home from the hospital.
"So many people I just want to thank that I still have my husband,” his wife said.
Boyce says he’s an experienced hunter with more than 30 years under his belt, and he knows the dangers. But he says the alligator came out of nowhere.
Florida Fish and Game will be investigating the incident.